SPEECH TO UZUPIS MAY 2014
by Britta Lillesøe, Christiania Cultural Association
Christiania is the greatest victory of the squatting movement in the world, I suppose!
The fairy tale started in the early nineteen hundred and sixties, where many old houses in Copenhagen were ordered to be condemned by the municipality of Copenhagen.
The very first big squat was in 1965 in the other side of Christianshavns Square.
It was a whole block of 17’th century houses, which were condemned – unhealthy to live in, mostly because they were worn down by the proprietor.
We called the place for Sofiegården – means The Sofie Yard after the street, Sofiegade – The Sofie Street!
We were around 100-150 people living there for 5 years. We made a lot of culture and got friends with the neighbors, mostly working class people.
The municipality of Copenhagen did’nt like, that we lived there and the minister of buildings and the lord mayor of housing ordered 300 police men to get us out of the houses. First they took two of the houses in 1969 – then the rest in 1970.
The City Hall did offer us another house for a certain period in the neighborhood.
The Sofie Yard is the mother of the squatting movement in Denmark – and therefore also the mother of Christiania, and she got a very big daughter.
Hi everyone: Hugs, Energy, and Greetings.
Thanks to those of you who attended the 5th Futurological Symposium on Free Cultural Spaces (FCS) and enjoyed the wonderful Christiania experience in Copenhagen. Another energising event! Heartfelt thanks to Britta, Frants, Ilene, Ligia, Majya, Mikkel, Nils, and Nina!
Hello to those of you who organized and attended previous Symposia at Boom and Ruigoord, and to those who propose hosting Symposia in the near future. Our core FCS network is growing!
We welcome your responses to and comments on this short post-Symposium report and want to share the enthusiasm that participants at Christiania had for the idea of holding more frequent “mini-Symposia,” in addition (we hope) to regular larger coordinating events like the 3rd (Ruigoord), 4th (Boom Festival), and 5th (Christiania) Symposia. Regarding the mini-Symposia, we wonder how many experienced Symposiotes should be present for them to be considered “Symposium” events: perhaps 3; including one who has previously helped organize?
A symposium of free thinkers, visionaries, diggers and dreamers from all around the world. Poets, musos, activists, writers, eco-warriors and more. The video features some of the speakers, music and fun from three days in and around the Grey Hall, that coincided with Christiania’s 44th Birthday party!
Christiania: the 5th Free Cultural Spaces Symposium.
Symposium delegate, Abraham Vega slightly (mis)quoted:
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
George Bernard Shaw.
But in lots of ways it sums up what the Free Cultural Spaces Symposium is. It’s a place for exchanging ideas. An exploratory for people to come from around the world and share their stories of growing intentional communities, of squatting, eco-farms, floating cities, artistic and cultural centres.
UK-BBC Radio programme on the meaning of ‘ownership’ including a section about Christiania (start at: 28:44 minutes) on ‘collective’ responsibility and ‘sharing’ in the ownership and running of Christiania: http://bbc.in/1O38L68